This city is famous around the world with its relationship with the legend of Robin Hood. The capital of Robin Hood county, home of the beloved Nottingham Forest football team, and a great place to enjoy a few beers in one of the top ten bars in Nottingham!
It’s a key focus of the Midlands, Nottingham’s rich history is not only steeped in Medieval folk lore but in also once being a world leader in the lace-making industry during the era of the British Empire, and in famously being the spot where King Charles I raised his standard to declare war with Cromwell’s parliament on Standard Hill at the foot of Nottingham Castle.
Within Nottingham’s celebrated centre stand some of the most varied and fascinating bars and public houses you’re ever likely to come across. Here are my top ten bars in Nottingham:
1. The Pit and Pendulum, (17 Victoria St, Nottingham NG1 2EW)
The Gothic theme of this famous haunt doesn’t stop at the name. Within its darkened walls and grisly décor of spider’s webs, bottled heads, and electric tubes you’ll find real dark ales and stouts to suit any gory palate.
Melancholia be damned, the cocktail selection can be the start of any party. From the aptly-named ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ you can select any type of cocktail to your taste from the potent strength of ‘Greed’ to the sickly sweetness of ‘Gluttony’.
Drink all seven and receive the coveted ‘7 Deadly Sins Cocktails’ T-shirt. Then if they don’t placate your need for punishment try the ‘The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse’ cocktail menu.
There’s certainly enough here to even put a smile on Edgar Allan Poe’s face.
2. Boilermaker, (36b Carlton St, Nottingham NG1 1NN)
A mysteriously secretive pub and easily missed by the unsuspecting passer-by.
The only clue to its existence is the burgeoning crowd outside an old boiler shop.
Certainly not an easy place to find as its stark entrance gives no clue as to what lies behind its door.
For those who want to be in-the-know enter through the old boiler shop and discover some of the nicest and artistic cocktails you’re likely to try this side of town. But remember, it’s a secret!
3. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, (Brewhouse Yard, Nottingham NG1 6AD)
Harkening back to the 12th century this pub is one of the oldest pubs in Nottingham and was originally the brewery of the old Castle of Nottingham.
Built into the rock at the base of the hill upon which stands the castle The Trip is so named after being a resting point for crusaders on their way to Jerusalem, and it certainly now has its own following of pilgrims looking for respite within its archaic walls.
A hot spot for tourists from all over the world its nooks and crannies cut into the rock make for cosy corners, perfect for canoodling couples and suspicious smugglers alike.
The history of this ale house gem is palpable and a must for all visitors and fans of Robin Hood’s Medieval era.
There is no doubt that this fine establishment deserves its place on our list of Top Ten Bars in Nottingham.
4. Old Salutation Inn, (Hounds Gate, Nottingham NG1 7AA)
Just a few metres down the road from the Old Trip stands the crooked beams and bricks of the Old Salutation Inn.
Dating from the 1400s this pub is another to hold the title as one of the oldest pubs in Nottingham.
With its darkened floorboards and hidden nooks this old treasure certainly oozes history and mystery with a real homely-pub feeling. Being a favourite for rockers and metal-heads this pub also plays host to some heavy rock nights.
With the Castle District of Nottingham being so embedded in history it’s no wonder that so many tourists, visitors, and regulars return to these old haunts to sample real ales and life as it was, and as it still is within this traditional and picturesque pub.
5. The Waterfront (Castle Wharf, Canal St, Nottingham NG1 7EH)
A modern bar with all the trimmings for a great party atmosphere and a wild night.
This bar is definitely a crowd-pleaser and not one for the faint of heart. Situated just down the road from the city train station this popular riverside spot is a favourite for revellers visiting from out of town as well as the locals.
It is a particular favourite during the long summer days when one may bask in the sunshine with a cool beverage in their extensive beer garden.
6. The Navigation Inn (6 Wilford St, Castle Lock, Nottingham NG2 1AA)
Away from the main hustle and bustle of the riverside strip sits the often overlooked Navigation.
A riverside pub in itself, next to a lock on the canal, it is a tranquil escape from the rowdy town-goers and party people further up the river.
A family-friendly pub during the day, and pleasant social spot in the evening the Navigation’s selection of succulent burgers is enough temptation for any hungry visitor to enjoy whilst relaxing and watching the canal boats go by.
This pub made its way onto the top ten bars in Nottingham list primarily due to the location – everybody loves a drink next to the water!
7. Pepper Rocks (12 Pepper St, Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GH)
Another treasure hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, this bar offers a feeling of rural European difference, with comfy sofas and retro-industrial style décor.
With a delicious variety of cocktails this is the perfect spot to catch up with friends or impress a date away from the commotion of the big city bars.
8. All Bar One (3 Weekday Cross, Nottingham NG1 2GB)
Located near the chic Lace Market area of Nottingham All Bar One is one for those that enjoy a more stylish bar with a sophisticated atmosphere.
All Bar One finds itself on our top ten bars in Nottingham list as it’s classier than your average chain bar, the spacious interior makes this a fashionable retreat for colleagues, friends, and families meeting for a coffee or a cocktail.
Plus, with a delectable lunch-time menu it’s no wonder why this bar is so popular with day-time shoppers and city centre workers alike.
9. Pitcher and Piano (The Unitarian Church, High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HN)
A church may seem an unlikely place for carousing and cocktails, but it certainly provides a stunning backdrop for this stylish chain bar.
With modern décor and ambient lighting juxtaposed against the stone archways and stained-glass facades, modernity meets history just as the celestial meets the wickedly tempting within this elegantly seductive location.
10. Tilt (9 Pelham St, Nottingham NG1 2EH)
An intimate cocktail bar with candle-lit seating and regular live blues showings, this bar is one of the more relaxed and subdued in Nottingham.
Ambience and atmosphere is the theme as the single corridor leads you from the entrance into escapism at its best.
Relax with one of their many cocktails and enjoy the mellow mood of this cosy and trendy blues bar.
Whether it’s a wild night out, a few cocktails with friends, a sampling of real ales in real pubs, a romantic chic evening, or even a day trip with the family, these top ten bars in Nottingham have something to suit every taste, occasion, and pocket that even Robin Hood himself would be proud!
By Stephanie Bognar